Tag Archives: bologna

The European Higher Education Area (EHEA) Ministerial Conference and Fourth Bologna Policy Forum took place on 14-15 May 2015 in Yerevan, Armenia. About 500 participants from 47 countries and international organisations, including 20 education ministers, arrived in Armenia to attend the event. Tibor Navracsics, EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, also came to Armenia to take part in the conference and join in the Europe Day celebrations.
During the opening ceremony of the conference, Commissioner Navracsics thanked Armenia for hosting the conference, as well as Iceland and Latvia for their chairmanship: ‘The very core of our societies has suffered serious blows this year: freedom of speech and academic thought have been under attack in Europe and beyond. From the shocking attacks in Paris and Copenhagen to the devastating killings of students in Kenya we have all been reminded that to maintain and nurture democratic values and academic freedom we have to work together and engage in constant dialogue. Universities have a vital role to play.
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They provide an environment and prospective that enable citizens to think freely and critically, and they nurture open, tolerant societies. Higher education institutions played an irreplaceable role in rebuilding societies in Europe after 1989. Today, higher education and academic values remain crucial for the safekeeping of democratic freedoms. We must acknowledge these values and share commitments we will make here in Yerevan’.
The Armenian President, Serzh Sargsyan, also spoke: ‘Positive and progressive trends have been registered in our higher education institutions with regard to both the application of European quality standards and student mobility. The Armenian culture of education, which originated in ancient times, is an integral part of our country’s ancient history and has made global contributions. To build upon our educational traditions today we need accessible and adequate tools for contact and communication throughout the whole European Higher Education Area. In that context, the Bologna process-driven reforms have significantly supported the founding of a student-orientated system and efforts that provide today’s generation with the opportunity to be well equipped and competitive to respond to current challenges. Although we have not yet overcome all the obstacles, the accomplishments we have already registered and our will to achieve global goals signals a more active stage of dialogue. The important decisions you are going to make in Yerevan will have a positive impact on millions of European students and education beneficiaries, thus paving the way for new progress, economic development and stability’.
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After the opening remarks of the chairmen and the Armenian Minister of Education and Science, participants started their discussions, one result of which was the Republic of Belarus becoming a member of the EHEA.
The conference concluded with a communiqué for Yerevan. For the first time in a EHEA ministerial communiqué, the right to student mobility and education in conflict areas was affirmed, a crucial principle in the context of European education policy.
ARS_3109The Armenian Prime Minister closed proceedings, stating that Armenia highly evaluated the participation of such an audience and delegations in Yerevan: ‘The Bologna process is a result of a successful cooperation. It has had a crucial role in the creation of the EHEA model, as well as enabled countries with different cultural and education traditions to create learning environments in line with European standards’.
A press conference attended by all participating ministers was held after the conference. Mārīte Seile, Latvian Minister of Education and Science, commented that the Bologna process was very important for Europe’s competitiveness: ‘The conference was a very clear message that higher education is not only about knowledge and skills, but also values and attitudes’. ARS_3312
The Armenian Minister of Education and Science, Armen Ashotyan, announced that the next conference would be hosted by France in 2018.

The European Union Delegation to Armenia invited journalists on 19 February to a press briefing in the frames of a three-day training session organised from 17 to 19 February for staff members of Armenian universities. The briefing took place at the Sargis and Mary Izmirlyan Library at Yerevan State University.
This three-day training seminar, run by three EU experts, involved 30 representatives from 12 different universities in Yerevan, covering writing and learning outcomes; methods and processes for assessing students’ level of knowledge, skills and competencies; formal and informal exams; classroom participation; assignments; self-evaluation; peer evaluation; linking the European credit transfer and accumulation system (ECTS) to different modules.
The training sessions were organised within the framework of the EU twinning project called “Empowerment of Tertiary Level Education of the Republic of Armenia for European Higher Education Area Integration”, which was launched on 1 October 2014. The project’s overall objective is to strengthen cooperation on social development, especially in accordance with EU best practice reforms in training systems, quality assurance, and the higher education system. The initiative has a total budget of €1 million and will last for 24 months.
ARS_1894Borislav Dimitrov, International Aid/Cooperation officer at the EU Delegation, talked about the importance of sharing experience between native and international experts to bring about change in education: ‘Education and training are recognised as key drivers of growth and job creation to foster social equality and inclusion. This twinning project has an EU contribution of about €1 million. It is not a secret that the issue of matching skills to labour market demands is on the EU’s economic governance agenda and is a priority for many EU member states. In this context we are happy that the EU is in a position to help Armenia in its educational reforms. We are sharing experience, know-how and lessons learnt. The twinning instrument opens a sustainable approach for administrative reforms and approximation to the EU standards. This assistance complements Armenia’s involvement in 29 ongoing Tempus projects and 17 Erasmus Mundus projects, as well as the EU’s new education programme Erasmus Plus’.
The project is being implemented with cooperation from the Ministry of Education and Science of Armenia. Robert Sukiasyan, Head of Higher Education and Postgraduate Professional Education Department, introduced the involvement of their Ministry in these programmes: “Within the framework of the educational reform, Armenia is actively cooperating with the EU, including this twinning project. Its main goal is the ministry working together with EU experts to draft new legislation on higher education, as well as amendments to existing legislation. The other main topic is ensuring compliance with international quality standards. Another very important factor is also raising of professional skills of ministry employees, who will also undergo training in the near future’.
ARS_1945Karl Holm, Resident Twinning Advisor, spoke on the importance of the quality of education for compliance with the labour market: ‘Everybody is keen on education, which is why we are here. However, this love and passion needs good governance, solid legislation, better capacity, and quality. This is the main reason we are here. For this reason we are working very closely with beneficiaries, like the Ministry of Education and Science and the Armenian National Centre for Professional Education Quality Assurance Foundation (ANQA). This is the last day of the three-day training session for representatives of twelve different universities in Yerevan. We will continue these kinds of seminars – the project will train around 120 experts from Armenian higher education institutions. The essence of this project is that Armenian higher education should be linked to the European higher education area. This can lead to assistance and improvements on many issues, such as quality, legislation, mobility, and more. We are not saying that Armenia is not yet close to this, but we are here to emphasise some additional details to assist Armenia achieve greater higher education’.
The project includes Armenian higher education institutions and the national centre for quality higher education. Over 60 international experts from Finland, Germany and Estonia have been involved in the project and have come to Armenia to share their experiences in education. Indeed, at this seminar, the Vice-rector of Turku University (Finland) made a presentation to journalists about the Bologna process and Armenia’s involvement in it.
After the presentations and speeches, journalists, as well as seminar participants, had the opportunity to ask questions to programme representatives. It emerged that a major challenge for Armenian tertiary-level education system at this stage is to design a holistic system that is capable of preparing highly qualified specialists with transferable skills and the capacity to function in an ever-changing environment.